North Cobb High School student dies on field trip in Belize

North Cobb High School lost a “talented scholar and musician” Saturday when a ninth-grader died on a field trip in Central America, the Cobb County schools superintendent said Monday.

District spokeswoman Lauretta Hannon confirmed in a statement that North Cobb High student Tomari Aliijah Jackson died in Belize on a study abroad trip after being declared missing.

Cobb County School District Superintendent Chris Ragsdale offered condolences to Tomari’s family on behalf of the district.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of this talented North Cobb High School scholar and musician,” Ragsdale said in the statement. “Our immediate priority at this time is caring for and supporting his family and all the students, families, and school staff impacted by this tragic event.”

Six chaperones and 32 students arrived at the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize Saturday as part of an educational excursion intended to provide experiential learning for students in the North Cobb High magnet program, Hannon said in the statement.

They went on a hike after arriving and were in shallow water near a riverbank when Tomari disappeared, Hannon said. Search crews later found his body.

School district officials have been in contact with families of students on the trip and local authorities in Belize, Hannon said. School officials, working with the U.S. Embassy, made travel arrangements to return students and chaperones to Atlanta.

Cobb schools are currently on winter break. Though school is not in session, the district’s prevention and intervention team will provide support to students and staff throughout the week, Hannon said.

Counselors will also be available when students return to school next Monday.

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